Our salvation comes as a gift of God's grace, but it can only be appropriated by the human response of faith. To understand the process of salvation properly, we must understand the following two words.
SAVING FAITH! Faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition God requires for salvation. Faith is not only a profession about Christ, but also an activity coming from the heart of the believer who seek to follow Christ as Lord and Savior. (See Matthew 4:19; Matthew 16:14; Luke 9:23-25; John 10:4)
1. The New Testament conception of faith includes four main elements:
(a) Faith means firmly believing and trusting in the crucified and risen Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. It involves believing from our hearts that is, yielding up our wills and committing our total selves to Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the New Testament.
(b) Faith involves repentance, i.e., turning from sin with true sorrow and turning to God through Christ. Saving faith is always a repentant faith.
(c) Faith includes a heartfelt personal devotion and attachment to Jesus Christ that expresses itself in trust, love, gratitude and loyalty towards Him. Faith in an ultimate sense cannot properly be distinguished from love. It is a personal activity of sacrifice and self-giving directed toward Christ.
2. Faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior is both the act of a single moment and a continuing attitude to life that must grow and be strengthened. Because we have faith in a definite person who died for us, our faith should become greater. Trust and obedience develop into loyalty and devotion; loyalty and devotion develop into an intense feeling of personal attachment to and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
This faith in Christ brings us into a new relationship with God and exempts us from His wrath; by it, we become dead to sin and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
GOD's GRACE: Grace is God's presence and love through Christ Jesus, given to believers by the Holy Spirit and imparting to them mercy, forgiveness, and the desire and power to do God's will. The whole movement of the Christian life from beginning to end is dependent on this grace.
1. God gives a "measure of grace" (1 Cor. 1:4) as a gift to unbelievers in order that may be able to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.'' (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 2:11: 3-4)
2. God gives grace to believers to be "made free from sin", to will and to do of His good pleasure. Note on obedience as a gift of God's grace, to pray, to grow in Christ and to witness for Christ!
3. God's grace must be diligently desired and sought after. (Heb. 4:16) Some of the ways by which God's grace is received are: studying and obeying the Holy Scriptures, (John 15:1-11; 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:15): hearing the proclamation of the gospel,(Luke 4:2; 6:16) praying, (Heb. 4:16, Jude 20): fasting, (Matt. 4:2, 6:16) worshiping Christ (Col. 3:16) and being continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephe. 5:18) and participating in the Lord's supper (Acts 2:42; Ephe 2:9).
4. God's grace can be resisted (Heb. 12:15), received in vain (2 Cor.6:1), quenched (1 Thes. 5:19), nullified (Gal 2:21) and abandoned by the believer (Gal. 5:4).